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West Ham – Sunderland

West Ham went into the match looking to keep their European hopes alive by gaining three points to keep them in the 7th place battle in the Premier League. Sunderland, however were looking to ease the pressure on themselves as relegation draws ever closer. With both teams looking to achieve very different goals the match was set to be either a dog fight or a thriller. If your a West Ham fan then it most definitely was a thriller. If not for the two goals, then for the pure class in which West Ham were able to win. Before the game a Sunderland fan had every reason to be confident as both Radoslav Kovac and Scott Parker were injured in the lead-up to the game which meant Zola handed a start to Jonathon Spector at right back meaning Lucas Neill moved to central midifield and also Junior Stanislas was given his first start on the right of midfield.

The young prodigy was handed his first start by Zola

Sunderland started the game bright, settling in better than the home side and a few neat passes saw Grant Leadbittergo close on a few occasions but nothing really dangerous for Robert Green or West Ham to deal with apart from a fierce shot that Green managed to punch away from his goal. It seemed that Sunderland may be really fighting for there place in the Premier League and that this game would be tough for the Hammers. Without Scotty Parker in the midfield the Hammers seemed to be missing the creative prowess that Scott Parker has instilled in the team this season. Djibril Cisses’ pace was causing the West Ham defence some problems but West Ham started to settle and take control of the game. David Di Michele lead the controlling and exciting play of the Hammers and the “twinkle-toed Italian” was causing some real problems for the Sunderland defence and a lovely through ball to Herita Ilunga nearly lead to the first goal only for Ilungato poke wide with his shot. The youngster Junior Stanislas was causing problems whilst Luis Boa Mortes’pace was also creating opportunities for the Hammers. It was fitting that these two combined to finish off a wonderful West Ham goal. It started all they way at the back with Robert Green. Robert Green again displayed his goalkeeping properties that England need by smartly throwing to Boa Morte who then found Diego Tristan who flicked on to David Di Michele and another wonderful ball from the Italian put Boa Morte into the box and after a  momentary hesitation Boa Morte did well to pass to Stanislas who could not miss on his debut and although the finish was easy it was smartly taken by the youngster.

David Di Michele was heavily involvedwith all things good for the Hammers

The second half started as the first half ended and the home side used this to their advantage within the first ten minutes of the restart. A well struck Mark Noble corner found James Tomkins who expertly headed into Craig Gordons net despite the goalkeepers best efforts to keep the header out. Not long after this goal James Tomkins nearly scored in similar fashion only to be denied by goalkeeper Craig Gordon who then saved Matthew Upsons’ follow up. Unfortunately for the Hammers Jonathan Spector was stretchered off after he was involved in an aerial collision and he lost consciousness. This enabled a Premier League return for James Collins. With no real need to attack the Hammers found themselves under a bit of pressure in the last ten minutes but substitute Kieron Dyer and Diego Tristan both had efforts to try and get a third but it wasn’t to be and West Hams’ academy coach Tony Carr showed what his boys can do for the sixth time this season. Let’s hope for more and more strong performances from these youngsters! 

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